The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not prioritized compliance with Section 205(b) of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000), according to the DHS Office of Inspector General.
The DMA 2000 repealed and replaced prior mitigation planning provisions with new requirements, primarily to authorize a program for predisaster mitigation, streamline administration of disaster relief, and control the Federal costs of disaster assistance. OIG conducted an audit to determine to what extent FEMA is complying with the DMA 2000 by implementing regulations and policies to identify and reduce repetitive damages to our Nation’s roads and bridges.
According to FEMA officials, the component has instead focused on other tasks necessary to carry out its mission. Therefore, FEMA has not published regulations and related policies, as required by the DMA 2000, to provide an incentive to reduce repetitive damages to facilities, including roads and bridges, through mitigation. Additionally, FEMA has overlooked and not resolved issues with two key aspects of program implementation — limitations in data collection and tracking and impediments to applicants’ mitigation efforts.
From 2009 through 2018, FEMA obligated an estimated $1.9 billion in assistance for repetitively damaged roads and bridges. Until FEMA prioritizes publication of regulations and policies and resolves data system limitations and impediments to applicants, it cannot take full advantage of mitigation opportunities to reduce repetitive damages to the Nation’s roads and bridges and ensure effective long-term recovery.
OIG recommended that FEMA should prioritize the DMA 2000 by addressing unresolved implementation issues and publishing a regulation as required.
FEMA concurred with all four recommendations. As a result of FEMA’s responses, OIG considers two recommendations resolved and open and two unresolved.